Moon caves could provide shelter for astronauts

The typical forecast for the moon is far from comfortable, with temperatures ranging from boiling during the day to minus 280 degrees at night. However, according to new research, Moonpit can provide An oasis from the roller coaster temperatures.

A team of planetary scientists at UCLA used NASA infrared images to see what the insides of these moon holes look like. lunar reconnaissance orbiter And we’ve determined that the temperature in at least one of these pits is always consistently 63 degrees. The findings were recently published in Geophysical Research Letters. The UCLA newsroom is calling it the discovery of year-round “sweater weather.”

Tyler Horvath, Ph.D. in Planetary Science, one of the study’s authors, said: A UCLA student said the pit could be a lava tube or opening in a cave, an ideal place for astronauts to live, offering the perfect temperature and protection from meteorites and radiation. rice field.

“Imagine a day on the moon. 15 days of extreme heat well above the boiling point of water. And 15 days of extreme cold, the lowest temperature in the entire solar system.” Horvath says. “So being able to be in a place where you don’t have to expend energy to heat your body during those 15 nights is almost invaluable because at night, solar power is the main form of If you’re going to use it, you can’t do it for 15 days to get the energy.”

A UCLA research team focused on a still water or rift in the Mare Trenkylitatis region about 220 miles (220 miles) from where Apollo 11 landed and equidistant from Earth. . Apollo 17 landing site.

cozy pixel of the moon

UCLA researchers found a single pixel in the infrared image. This suggests that there are warm spots on the Moon.
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

NASA’s LRO spacecraft has continuously orbited the Moon, making measurements with a suite of instruments, including the Diviner Lunar Radiometer, which has been constantly mapping the Moon’s heat output since 2009.

UCLA planetary scientist David Paige is the principal investigator of the Diviner device and lead author of the new study on the lunar hole.

Horvath was assigned to create a 3D model of one of these interesting pits in the Mare Trenkyritatis area. In the process, the team found that one pixel of his in the infrared image was warmer than most spots on the moon during nights when the temperature dropped sharply.

“We noticed that it warmed up very quickly and was able to maintain a warmer temperature than it would normally have at night,” explains Horvath. “We’re like, ‘Oh, this might be more interesting than we thought.'”

Japan's SELENE/Kaguya terrain camera and multiband imager captured an ancient volcanic region on the Moon called Marius Ridge.
Japan’s SELENE/Kaguya terrain camera and multiband imager captured an ancient volcanic region on the Moon called Marius Ridge.
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

After double-checking the data from the Diviner and considering how the pits would be exposed to sunlight, the team decided on the temperature of the pit floor during the day. Unfortunately, this does not confirm the opening of the cave, but it is the current theory regarding these holes formed by ancient volcanic activity.

“If you have a cave there, you can basically keep the temperature at 63 degrees Fahrenheit all the time, 24 degrees every day, which was still a great result,” Horvath said.

How the Trenkylitatis Pit and other caves on the Moon maintain their temperature comes down to a physics concept known as a blackbody cavity that can self-regulate to maintain its temperature.

“It’s essentially a surface that perfectly emits and absorbs radiation,” explains Horvath.

The temperature at the bottom of the pit also depends on the relative positions of the Earth and Moon with respect to the Sun.

“The closer we are to the sun, the hotter it will be,” Horvath says. “It would be colder if it was away from the sun.”

How were lava tubes formed on the Moon?

Even from Earth, it’s clear that the Moon has interesting features, such as craters of various shapes and sizes. In 2009, the Japanese orbiting spacecraft Kaguya discovered a new type of lunar feature in the form of a deep fissure that researchers believe may contain created caves. by collapsing lava tubes, Similar to those found on Earth.

Thurston Lava Tube - Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii, USA.
UCLA researchers believe the moon has lava tubes similar to Devil’s Throat in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Universal Image Group by Sergi Reboredo/VW PICS/Getty Images

Horvath explains that billions of years ago there was very intense volcanic activity and lava flows. created dark spots You can see today when you look up at the moon. The surface lava cools first, due to exposure to the low temperatures of the space where the cavern below the lava is still flowing.

“In some places, that lava has completely detached, leaving hollow tubes, or lava tubes, under the surface,” Horvath said. “These holes are kind of a way to make sure they exist, that there’s a way to get into them, and that they could be anywhere.”

NASA Moonpit as a “skylight” The place where the roof of the lava tube collapsed.

On Earth, the UCLA research team behind this study visited a lava tube in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park known as Devil’s Throat, similar in size to the Male Trenkyritatis Pit. The park has other lava tubes like the one pictured above that visitors can walk through.

Without physically going to the Moon and climbing a rock into one of these holes, it’s difficult for researchers to know if these vast caves exist. NASA plans to return humans to the moon and build a permanent base within the next four years, so it may eventually be possible.

Moon caves could provide shelter for astronauts

Source link Moon caves could provide shelter for astronauts

Back to top button